Notes from my travels
I love travelling; nothing excites me more than planning my next trip. Each country, each new city heralds a fresh set of experiences and learning’s. The people, food, culture, scenery or even the small idiosyncrasies of the place and people fascinates me. For me travelling is just not visiting the prominent landmarks of the city and taking the mandatory picture; every journey that I have undertaken has enriched me; taught me something and actually made me appreciate my country more, and it holds true for both travels within and outside the country.
Once while in Edinburgh, Scotland I and a friend had to reach a particular point in the city early in the morning; this was supposed to be the starting point of our tour further up the highlands. We set out for the place from our hotel armed with our map and directions from our hotel receptionist, confident that we would reach the place in time not to miss the tour bus. Unfortunately due to some wrong turns we landed up at the wrong place and as we were getting very late, we thought we will take help from some locals. To our surprise nobody was familiar with the place we had to reach, and everybody politely told us to refer to our map or Google maps!! I have had similar experiences in London also plenty of times. Once somebody just gave us their map.
If the same thing had happened in India to me and I am sure any of us would just go to the nearest shop or panwala, for directions and reached the destination. Yes a far simpler and convenient solution in my point of view, of course my husband would disagree, he loves his maps! Of course there are perils to asking for directions too! Like this one time me and my husband had just landed in Paris very late in the night and could not find our hotel; so we decided to ask for directions from a taxi driver, of course the only way he would do that if we boarded his taxi. So for a journey of some 400 meters we ended up paying 7 Euros to him. While when I first travelled to Mumbai I had an auto driver asking some twenty people for directions so that I reach my friends place safely.
In London the most convenient way of travelling is the underground or the metro as we call it in India. Sometimes due to maintenance work they have to shut down some routes during the weekends, and the same happened to us during one of our trips. The authorities kindly suggested some alternative bus routes to us to reach the destination. Since we were only familiar with the underground and didn’t know where the bus stops was, one of the underground staff came with us all the way to bus stop to show us how to and which bus to take.
Anybody who has travelled to Spain will tell you about the numerous Tapas bars and the delectable food served. To the unfamiliar, tapas is appetizers or snacks in Spanish cuisine and is designed to encourage conversation so that people are not focused entirely on eating the food that is set before them. I love Tapas bars and when in Spain the in thing is to go Tapas bar hopping. Of all the Tapas bars that I visited in Spain, and there were quite a few of them, the one I remember most is the one run by a quirky old man and his beautiful wife. Quirky because he didn’t know much English but after every plate of food consumed he would come to our table and ask for feedback in broken English asking was it good or very good? And his charming ways made us want to go back again and again back to his small little place.
So while all the places I have visited are beautiful and I can write pages about the great monuments & artifacts that I have seen; my travels have been enriched by the people I have met and the experiences I have had. It takes all kinds to make this world; nobody is right or wrong, they just make life interesting, don’t they?
© 2015 Suranjana Saha